“The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the life and power come after we ‘get up and get going.’ God does not give us overcoming life—He gives us life as we overcome” (Oswald Chambers).

Chambers wrote these words a long time ago. How did he know I’d be so tired today I couldn’t think straight?

How am I supposed to inspire others when I can’t get inspired about what to make for supper?

There are days I think inspiration has permanently left the building.  

I’m a cancer survivor. Chemo and radiation treatments left me with permanent side effects of fatigue and memory loss. I count myself fortunate because I am 100 percent in remission. The side effects pale when I think of the alternative.

However, these drawbacks do impact my daily life. I tend to limit my to-do list according to how I feel when I wake up. That’s not what God wants.

But I don’t feel inspired today, Lord!”

I fail to remember the body eventually falls into sync with the mind. Inspiration is not a prerequisite to productivity.

The get-up-and-go mentality comes after we get up and go.  

This is true in the spiritual realm as well. There are days I don’t really feel inspired to read my Bible. Yet, God inspires me within a few verses after I start. Sometimes I don’t know what to pray. When I begin, God reminds me of what I need to pray about and for whom I need to pray.

God inspires most when I feel the least motivated. All I need to do is trust and start.

Award winning author Linda Wood Rondeau writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God, becomes our best future. A veteran social worker, Linda resides in Hagerstown, Maryland. Visit her web site www.lindarondeau.com or contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and Goodreads. 

 

 

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I love the ever-changing colors and textures of a sunset. There’s something so peaceful about it, almost as if the day exhales its worry and stress in preparation for the night.

Maybe that’s why the best sunsets include clouds, those masses of water vapor we usually associate with storms. In fact, some of the most beautiful sunsets happen in the aftermath of a storm when the abundance of cloud surfaces all reflect the varying hues of light as the sun slips below the horizon.

Several decades have passed since I took my first airplane ride, but I still remember that day when dark clouds hung low and rain made everything especially dreary.

The difference when we burst through the cloud deck astounded me. Sunlight shining on brilliant white cotton-ball tops of the clouds took my breath away.

We landed again in that dismal rainy weather, but I felt like grabbing everyone I saw and encouraging them to believe there was incredible beauty right above us on the other side of those clouds.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If life’s clouds have got you down, trust there’s amazing beauty on the other side, and prepare for an awesome Son-set once the storm passes.

Mary L. Hamilton is the author of the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for middle grades and Pendant, a cozy suspense novel, under the name M. L. Hamilton. When not writing, she enjoys photographing sunsets like the one above. She and her husband live in Texas.

www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

www.instagram.com/mlhamiltonauthor

 

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The holidays are soon upon us and so are the inevitable changes of the new year. Crazy as it is, change is all around us.

A wedding. A new baby. School. A heart attack. A honeymoon. Retirement. A new home. Death. A promotion. Divorce. A big inheritance. Cancer. A new career. Remarriage. Each of these situations—and a zillion more—bring change into a person’s life.

Some changes are good; some are bad; some are just plain ugly. Some of these changes we choose; others we do not. But change happens, so it’s wise to learn how to respond to those changes well and move forward.

The challenge in all this is to grow through it and allow the change to do its work in you. Whether you’re a tweenager on the cusp of puberty or a retiree trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, we must continually deal with change. Though change is a natural process of life and growth, few of us really know how to go through it well. There are times it can be downright overwhelming!

The reality is that the adventure of change isn’t usually comfortable or fun. And in today’s culture, life is moving so fast and changes happen so quickly that we hardly have time to adjust or respond before the next change comes. How many of us just got used to the iPhone and along comes an iPad with all the new changes? Just buying clothes for my granddaughters slaps me in the face with the reality that they are changing every day.

Change can make us feel disoriented, confused, even annoyed. If we know it has a specific purpose, we can usually hang in there and work through the change. But if we can’t see the reason for the change, we can feel distressed, frustrated, even fearful. So we revert back to old and sometimes bad habits to find our safe places to get our balance—our old routines or activities or comfort foods—and that’s okay for a season. But we can’t hide in them. We must move on.

In my first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, the main character has six small children when she immigrates from Ireland to Canada. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. Many, many Irish immigrants took the perilous journey with little ones in tow. And with each child comes lots of challenges and changes every day.

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with change. And life is full of change! We love how the seasons change but often hate how our lives change with it. Just when we settle into a routine or get a handle on something, life seems to turn our world upside down, and we are forced to adjust to it.

Susan G. Mathis (CO), CAN VP, Topics: Writing * Marriage * Remarriage *

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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My Favorite Book. It Is Yours? by Darlene Franklin

 

 

Since I’m an author, it’s not surprising that I read. Some books I never finish, some I’ve read five times. But even with my favorite books, I reach a saturation point and let them gather dust on a special shelf.

But there is one book I started reading as a child which I find as endlessly fascinating and worthy of study as the first time I opened it over fifty years ago: my Bible. No other book stirs so much discussion with friends and strangers. Whenever I’m sad, it gives me solace. I chose to memorize chunks of scripture to keep my aging brain active. No other book speaks life to me.

The written word, teaches me so much about the living Word of God, His Son. Whether I open it at Bible study, rehearse memory verses, read through the Bible, research a theme, look up a verse, or read the day’s passage in a devotional—nothing else convicts me, inspires me, teaches me, or draws me closer to God. Nothing is a greater tool for devotion, for prayer, for ministry.

Recently have I have begun the practice of praying the Bible. What a freeing experience! I no longer need to know someone’s exact needs today to know how to pray (although it helps). I pray for unknown situations and never met people, missionaries, the unsaved, leaders—simply by praying God’s word. Not the mention the insight I get into God’s answers for myself and known needs by praying His word.

How about you? What excites you about the Bible, about prayer? Do you struggle with Leviticus and freely pray the Psalms, like I do? So dig in to the daily spiritual nourishment from the Lord. Enjoy the mountain tops in the Psalms. I learn something new every day.

Darlene Franklin is a contributing author to the currently available Daily Wisdom for Women 2018 Edition (http://www.barbourbooks.com/product/Daily-Wisdom-for-Women-2018-Devotional-Collection,14789) (and to the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR Feb 2018). I’m also the author of Praying Through the Bible in a Year, TBR in Nov 2018.Darlene Franklin is a contributing author to the currently

Darlene Franklin

available Daily Wisdom for Women 2018 Edition oduct/Daily-Wisdom-for-Women-2018-Devotional-Collection,14789) (and to the upcoming 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer for Women (TBR Feb 2018). I’m also the author of Praying Through the Bible in a Year, TBR in Nov 2018.

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They say it’s your birthday. It’s my birthday, too, yeah.

I’m glad it’s your birthday. We’re gonna have a good time.

–Lennon/McCartney

Today is my birthday. Now that my feet are firmly planted in my sixth decade, I have questions that must be answered.

What happened to my nice, thick eyebrows, and why are they now growing on my upper lip?

When did I become my mother?

Will I ever remember all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody?

When will I stop acting like a spoiled child?

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things (I Corinthians 13:11).

When I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians, I think about the ways I am still a child. Remember when your kids were little, and they’d put their hands over their ears so they wouldn’t have to hear your rebuke? Sometimes I still do that when I hear the Lord’s voice through His word, through a sermon, or from the gentle chastening from a friend.

My pastor’s sermon two weeks ago was on evangelism. The word strikes trepidation deep in the soul of every introverted Christian. I picture the guy in our city who stands on various freeway overpasses with a bright pink sign with the words “John 3:16.” No way, God. (Hands over my ears.)

A few months ago, my ninety-three-year-old mother’s health declined to the point where she was afraid to be home alone at night in case she fell. My husband, Mike, suggested we move in with her. No way, God. (Hands over my ears.)

Paul encourages us to put away childish things – thoughts, actions, and attitudes. I feel Jesus’ gentle touch, prying my hands off my ears so I can hear his voice. At sixty-two, I may have finally grown up.

Jane Daly is the author of two books, Because of Grace, A Mother’s Journey from Grief to Hope, and The Caregiving Season, Finding Grace to Honor Your Aging Parent. She makes her home in Northern California. When she’s not working at the bank or hunched over her computer, she enjoys riding her bike and scrapbooking.

www.janeSdaly.com

www.facebook.com/janedalyspeakerandauthor

@queenjanedaly

Photo courtesy: https://www.123rf.com/profile_vgstudio’>vgstudio / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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